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Expectations vs. Reality: How Porn Messes With What Consumers Find Attractive

By December 8, 2017 No Comments
4 minute read.

In a way, we are what we eat, and we are what we watch. Or at least we internally absorb a large part of the things we consume, both with our eating and viewing.

As a society, we realize that what we see impacts the way view others—especially when we’re younger, and are just starting to learn about what the world is really like.

Positive messages can be passed on through what content we watch, but so can negative ones. And studies have shown that the majority of our generation and the next was exposed to pornography as young as 11 years old. In fact, one study showed that 93% of men and 67% of women reported being exposed to hardcore porn during adolescence.

So what do consumers learn about the world from porn, starting from an early age?

For one thing, porn dictates what is “sexy” and what the ideal sexual fantasy in a relationship looks like, which brings up more than a few issues:

Unrealistic Expectations for Partners

Just like we wouldn’t want people to think that the photoshopped images on Instagram represent a realistic beauty standard, we should not accept the “beauty” or “sexy” standards that porn shows consumers.

Porn producers choose performers that are already more attractive by society’s standards than the average person. Then they take those people and airbrush them, give them stylists for hair and makeup, and then work the lighting and camera angles to make them look as good as possible.

Related: The Day I Realized How Damaging My Porn-Influenced Sex Fantasies Are

This is exactly what happens with regular actors in films, so what’s the harm when it’s done on a porn set? Well, people don’t exactly look to feature films to learn about something important like sex, but the majority of our generation does this with porn.

Not to mention the harms that come from the darker side of pornography, like cosmetic surgeries (even to change the look of female performers’ labia), extreme diets, drugs, STD’s, and male enhancement products. The things you don’t see, yet the things that affect performers’ lives every day and create insanely unrealistic standards for consumers.

Unrealistic Ideas of Sex

Learning about sex from porn is like learning how to drive from watching the Fast & Furious movies—exaggerated, unrealistic, and ultimately dangerous.

In many stories that we’ve seen, people have talked about getting interested in porn because they were curious about sex. It’s completely and totally normal and natural to develop a curiosity about something natural—human sexuality—but learning about sex from scripted, exaggerating and airbrushed performers on screen is not actually the best idea.

Related: Millennial Sex Isn’t Great, And Porn Is Partly To Blame

Healthy sexuality isn’t found in the extreme, unprotected, violent, manufactured sex in porn. Porn separates sex from respect, dignity, kindness, love, and enthusiastic consent, which is the exact opposite of what healthy relationships are about.

Also, consuming copious amounts of porn can lead to sexual health issues like porn-induced erectile dysfunction that makes normal sex with a real human being much more difficult.

These are just a couple of the many issues that arise because porn is looked to as the sexy ideal, and can set especially young consumers up to have crazy unhealthy expectations for future relationships.

Altered Sexual Taste

Because viewing porn is an escalating behavior, once consumers start and feel that rush, they often need more hardcore content to reach that same high they’ve reached before.

In a survey of 1,500 young adult men, 56% said their tastes in porn had become “increasingly extreme or deviant.” It can even get to the point that regular sex with a partner is not enough to arouse or satisfy extreme porn consumers. A recent study shows 88% of popular porn videos contain violence.

A consumer might start by being completely against violence toward women, or incest, or other more hardcore types of porn. However, over time consumers might slowly become more and more comfortable with what they previously found to be distasteful or too extreme, just to chase that same high.

Related3 Reasons Why NOT Watching Porn Is Actually Really Sex-Positive

That being said, obviously, not everyone who consumes porn is going to be someone who assaults others, all the same, studies have shown how people who consume porn are more likely to be sexually aggressive.

And for those who are and aren’t sexually active yet, having the extreme world of porn sex as a barometer for a good time isn’t the healthiest place to be.

Supercharge Your Superpowers

Even though porn is made by real human beings, it is obviously far from real. And the real world and partners cannot match up with the fantasy that porn sells, so porn consumers tend to be less satisfied with their relationships when their porn habit eclipses their more realistic desires.

The fact is, porn raises the standards for what’s considered “beautiful” and “sexy” to completely unrealistic heights. From exaggerated responses of “pleasure” by the women, to the scarily above-average size of male performers, to the overly-edited and surgically-enhanced performers, consumers today are setting themselves up for disappointment by saturating their brains with images of unattainable fantasy. Can you see how this is totally unhealthy, especially for those who have been hooked from a young age? (Which, let’s face it, is most of our generation.)

RelatedResearch Exposes Why Men Prefer Porn Over Getting Married

In short, porn can corrupt our greatest human superpower—our ability to love others and ourselves freely and authentically, and see those around us as they truly are.

Don’t be like the dude below who can’t love what’s in front of him because he’s too hung up on the unrealistic fantasy in front of him. To fight for real, committed, respectful, and authentic relationships we have to continue to fight against pornography and the poisonous ideals that saturate our society’s concept of what’s sexy and attractive. You with us?

What YOU Can Do

Speak up. SHARE this article to let people know about the harms of pornography.

Spark Conversations

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